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In the February Issue, LASN asked "Is title act registration a real benefit for landscape architects, or should a state hold out for practice act legislation?" Following in a sample of the reply: Both the letters, above and below, have been edited as space permits.

Dear LASN: Title Acts are only a start. They do very little to stop unqualified persons from practicing. We need to follow the architects and engineers lead and stake out turf for ourselves. For example, why shouldn't land planning be a special area where landscape architects are required. We are the only profession, which encompasses the training in the numerous areas which are a part of a successful land plan. John M. Davis, ASLA, Duluth, GA

Dear LASN: I think a state should have both, but if forced to choose between the two, then a practice act would best serve the public's welfare. There needs to be a way to check the over abundance of "fly by nighters" who portray themselves as "garden designers" and landscape contractors who claim to be practicing landscape architecture. Philadelphia, PA

Dear LASN: In Texas, Title Act Registration seems to be working fine. I'm not sure I can see a specific need for Practice Act Legislation. Tyler, TX

Dear LASN: In Nevada we have both. This protects the licensed landscape architects from "designers" calling themselves designers or landscape architects & doing | such work to protect public health, safety and welfare. Nevada

Dear LASN: New Jersey's certification, a Title Act, is of little benefit, particularly since the legislation did not supersede prior site plan legislation that includes only architects, surveyors & engineers. C.E.U. requirements for this are even more tedious. My New York registration is much stronger. North Jersey, NJ


Dear LASN: Mr. R. Rand Knox's recent letter to LASN about Landscapeology was quite insightful. Let me assure him that there are some, like myself, that are constantly expanding our brains from the "study of landscape", but prefer to, put all that environmentally-sensitive knowledge to practice on placing "build" solutions (functionally & aesthetically) with the least negative impact on their natural ecosystems. Edward Paul Petcavage, Weston, MA

Dear LASN: Got your February issue today, reading Letters the "Landscapeologist" R. Rand of San Rafael sounds as if he's been riding down the wrong trail down on Mt. Tam. Next time he should take a snake bite kit and remove some venom.

San Rafael, being a part of Marin, which is BM'er & "Hot Tub Capital of the West", he should also know that it is bad "karma" to bring sour grapes to the party. Getting rid of the BMW payments and other baggage might help towards some attitude adjustment at a local bar or getting a life. Vince Mackel, Alameda, CA

Dear LASN: Greetings from Philadelphia and the Eastern shore!! As a native of New Jersey and frequent visitor to the beaches of New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia, I was very interested in the waterfront management article and the insights, which it provided. I was however disturbed by what I see as a fundamental missing "undercurrent" in the reporting of the work done by The Army Corps of Engineers and Ruppert Landscape.

Although impressive in its own right, the work required to rebuild our ocean beaches and shorelines is in fact not a cure but a treatment of an underlying symptom, which I correlate with a fundamental disregard for proper planning principles. If it were not for man's intervention and development, our ocean beaches would survive on their own through the natural ebb and flow of the tidal process. It is only because of man's pursuit of recreation and profit that our shorelines have been fouled and the natural processes of beach erosion have been made more pronounced.

The reality of the situation is that dune restoration is now necessary to protect life, property and investments, which should have never been built on or near the primary dunes to begin with. As Landscape Architects we are supposedly stewards of the land, and yet it appears through the article that we as a profession as well as others, offer band-aids to treat major illness, as our beaches are exploited to the point of disappearing. It has been proven time and time again that the process of beach reclamation is self-perpetuating, (answering) to a force much greater than that which mankind could control. Yet, we as a people systematically and persistently develop our beaches. Breakers, jetties, and sea walls were introduced to alter the effect of the sea and in fact they created more problems than they solved. Breakers have scalloped the New Jersey coast, seawalls and bulkheads interrupt the natural dissipation of wave energy and actually cause more severe erosion at their bases and yet we continue to build and stand in awe as we watch it swept away with the seasons first nor'easter. Ocean City will be inundated, the beach and shore front properties will be damaged and the federal government will provide disaster relief money and we as taxpayers and payers of insurance premiums, will ultimately foot the bill, time and time again.

While it is good to see that positive steps are being taken to reduce the damage caused by beach erosion, lets not forget why some of these "new and emerging" practices described in the article are developed and perhaps we can begin to rethink how we utilize our beaches and the fragile ecosystems of the shoreline. Evan J. Stone, R.L.A., Langhorne, PA

Can An LD Be An LA?

Dear LASN: As a member of both ASLA and APLD, I feel compelled to comment on the November, 1992 Question of the Month regarding sub-classification of Landscape Design as a separate discipline within Landscape Architecture.

The term Landscape Architecture covers a broad spectrum of different disciplines in the field. It is my belief that those who have studied L.A. and have degrees in L.A. or have attained L.A. status by exam deserve to be called Landscape Architects and get credit for their hard studies.

However, many LA's have met, though often capable of producing drawings and specifications for parking lots, city centers and subdivision master plans, have design skills, that from an aesthetic standpoint are mediocre at best; or have such limited field experience, and plant knowledge trees, shrubs and ground covers, that they should be ashamed to call themselves "stewards" of the land. I have heard more than a few complaints from landscape contractors about plans produced by LA's that ask for plants that are either unavailable or unavailable in the required sizes.

On the other hand, there are many who have good plant knowledge and planting design skills, but who lack the training or experience to do complicated grading and drainage plans, or details for retaining walls or decks. Indeed, most LD's in this category know their limitations and will refer this work to someone capable.

To those LA's who say they have worked so hard to attain their degrees that they should be the only ones allowed to design landscapes, keep in mind that many LD's have horticulture, art or design backgrounds and continue to improve their knowledge by attending seminars and other classes. To further my own knowledge, I attend many of the programs offered at the nearby Chicago Botanic Garden. Although there are a few LA's present most of the time, the LD's outnumber them by far. My point is that many LD's, without being forced to, want to further their knowledge.

As I mentioned above, most LD's I know are aware of their limitations. However, many LA's I have met do not know their limits. For example, some LA's feel that because they have an LA degree that they are qualified to do small scale residential design, even though most of their experience and training is for office parks or golf courses. Residential landscape architecture design is much more detail-oriented than many LA's who do not specialize in this area are used to. Perhaps this area, though technically landscape architecture, should be referred either to LA's with residential experience, or to LD's.

The problem with the Landscape Design field in the past has been quality control, some sort of qualification process. This problem has been recently addressed by the APLD (Association of Professional Landscape Designers) who have instituted a certification process, the intent of which is to establish a certain competency level for LD's.

Should landscape design be a sub-classification of landscape architecture? I'm not sure it would work, as we already have Residential Landscape Architecture (which ASLA seems to recognize only grudgingly). However, landscape design should be recognized on its own as a separate, but related field. Timothy N. Thoelecke, Jr.
President, Garden Concepts, Inc., Glenview, IL.

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June 26, 2019, 11:55 am PDT

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